EURef Round-Up 2: Shirley Williams enters the debate…

Lib Dem Peer Shirley Williams has written in the Belfast Telegraph of the problem of widespread misunderstanding about how the EU works and what it actually does. She calls for a more direct role for national parliaments in how the EU works and for EU Commissioners to appear before national parliaments to answer questions as Ministers do. She also calls for a European news channel:

Europe badly needs continent-wide communication. The main public broadcasters in the EU should be able to construct between them a European channel reporting not only on the European Parliament, but also on significant developments in other national parliaments.

Loss of influence

In the Guardian, Ulrich Speck of the Transatlantic Academy in Washington DC, writes that talk of Brexit is already undermining UK international influence:

The Brexit debate has weakened London’s weight in Europe and this affects the British relation with Washington. Today, Paris is more important for Washington with regards to southern Europe, and Berlin with regards to eastern Europe and Russia.

Economic danger

In the Sunday Times (£) David Smith writes that Brexit is the biggest danger to the UK economy in the coming year.

Polling review

In a review of polling for the referendum, the Guardian notes that poll result vary widely depending on their method.  Of the 21 most recent polls, 13 show remain ahead and 4 and leave ahead; 4 are tied. The average is a 4% lead for remain.  19 of these polls were online. Two polls by phone give remain massive leads of 17% and 21%.

In the same article, ICM has found people in other EU states strongly want Britain to remain a member and by similar margins also support their own country’s EU membership.

Labour for Brexit

In a further sign of Labour’s unreliability on Europe, the party’s biggest individual donor, John Mills, is supporting the Leave campaign, reports the Sunday Express.

Pressure group War On Want have declared their neutrality in the referendum campaign.

Northern Ireland – Brexit threatens peace and jobs

In a long piece, the International Business Times notes concern for peace and the economy in Northern Ireland were the UK to leave the EU.

Biggest issue facing famers in 2016

Hertfordshire farmer Ian Pigott writes in Farmers Weekly that the referendum is the biggest issue facing famers in 2016 and asks his fellow farmers to be more alert to this. He says,

UK agriculture would feel very exposed without the close allegiance of the other member states.


In Scotland, the Herald has come done strongly in favour of an IN vote:

With a marketplace on our doorstep of 500 million people, businesses, with the UK in the EU, have to abide by just one set of rules; Brexit could mean a whole set of new ones, including punitive tariffs.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International, Europe Referendum and News.


  • rita giannini 5th Jan '16 - 4:10pm

    I love Shirley Williams to bits, but to say that Commissioners should appear before national parliaments to answer questions is ridiculous! They would have no time for anything else, with 28 countries, and most of them with two houses; plus, of course, the European Parliament. Leave them to do their jobs, they are civil servants, and ask Ministers to report on what they are doing in Brussels! After all, they are there every week.

  • Richard Underhill 24th May '16 - 4:22pm

    The BBC is reporting that Shirley Williams has said that there are not enough women in the EU referendum debate.
    There are Tory women ministers on both sides, female Labour MPs, two of whom stood for the leadership, the SNP leader, the DUP leader, Green MP Caroline Lucas, …
    What is needed is a female Liberal Democrat in government, such as Kirsty Williams.
    Shirley Williams can refute some of the things that UKIP are saying about the 1975 referendum, on which she has written. How about a joint appearance?

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